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Julian Meynell's Books

I like Books.


Money - Martin Amis The problem with this book is that there is a certain fundamental incoherence with it in that it is written in the first person but the protagonist does not have the right kind of personality to engage in the kind of reflection, or to make the kind of observations or to use the kind of literary language that Amis makes him use. Furthermore, in some sense or other Amis has a kind of contempt for the protagonist that inhibits him from properly entering into the mental space of the protagonist. Nabakov faced with similar problems in Lolita made his protagonist a Literature Professor and managed to inhabit his mental space so effectively that people sometimes misread Lolita as an apologia for pedophilia. Amis cannot do this and as a result there is a kind of central incoherence to the book, which limits it. I am also not a great fan of the tendency of an author to insert himself as a minor character into his own book. Although, I suppose that seemed exciting and daring in 1981.

I don't find the book that funny. Jokes like the actors names or calling a sports car a Fiasco are not that inspired to me. In fact, I think you could know how much you would like this book by asking yourself how inspired and funny and brilliant you think it is to call a sports car a Fiasco.

The best satire is more connected to real human foibles than this book is. There is just something out of touch about the book and as a result it feels more like an assault on a certain type of people and their lifestyle rather than anything that has anything meaningful to say about them. I actually loathe the kind of people that the book is about so it says something that I think that Martin Amis is attacking them unfairly.

Having said this Amis is obviously a talented writer. There are good scenes and lots of good language. In the end though I did not find it an enjoyable read and I had to grind through the reading process. I doubt that I will ever read anything by Amis again.